Population, Language and Religion
Inca people, ancient religions, Quechua, Oriente, Roman Catholicism
The official and most widely used language in Ecuador is Spanish. Many rural Native Americans speak Quechua, the original language of the Inca people.
Most Native Americans in Ecuador became converts to the Roman Catholic faith during the years following the conquest of Peru and Ecuador by the Spanish. Roman Catholicism became the state religion in 1863, but by 1889 a liberal movement resulted in a partial severance of church from state. A decree of 1904 placed the church under state control; properties of religious orders were confiscated, and absolute freedom of religion was introduced. Today Roman Catholicism is the faith of about 96 percent of the population. The Native Americans of the Oriente maintain ancient religions; members of various Protestant denominations make up about 2 percent of the population.
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